OWINGS MILLS — Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined to give a timetable on when cornerback Jimmy Smith would return from his ankle injury suffered Monday night.
“I really don’t want to get into that,” Harbaugh said following Wednesday’s practice. “I don’t see any purpose getting into that.”
Can the Ravens’ secondary get the job done if Smith, their best corner, misses the most critical juncture of the season? Asked that question following Wednesday’s practice, Harbaugh and several players were almost defiant in their answers.
“Well, I’m not pushing the panic button like it sounds like you are, so that’s good,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll play great back there. I don’t doubt it for one second.”
If Smith misses the Ravens’ most critical juncture of the season, with just three games remaining, it could be a severe blow to their defense. When Smith has been injured this year, the Ravens’ secondary has been hurt by top wide receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants and Dez Bryant of the Cowboys.
The Ravens host the Eagles on Sunday, who do not have a receiver of Beckham or Bryant’s caliber. However, the Ravens will face perhaps the NFL’s best wide receiver in Antonio Brown of the Steelers on Christmas, followed by a season-finale against the Bengals, when star receiver A. J. Green could be back from his hamstring injury.
No matter how long Smith is out, the Ravens say it’s a challenge they can handle.
“I’ve got the same amount of confidence that I have with Jimmy Smith,” said safety Lardarius Webb. “Jimmy Smith is a big part of our defense. He’s a very important player. He’s a great player. But I believe in the guys behind us. Shareece Wright, he can play that position. Tavon Young came in and stepped up. He’s been balling ever since. I have 110% confidence in these guys.”
Ravens safety Eric Weddle concurred.
“We’re not worried about who is going to play or who is not going to play,” Weddle said. “We’ll play with the guys we have out there. We’ll be ready.”
At this stage of the season, the Ravens have no choice.
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